Sunlight: A Poem About My Love Life (Or Lack Thereof)

When you first told me you liked me

“Like” the word that can bloom into “love” 

I shivered terribly; perhaps it was excitement

or perhaps it was fear. 

The first sign that falling in love 

is a terrifying thing.

 

I was the one who broke it off

both times. 

“You broke his heart” 

“You really hurt him”

“He really likes you”

The words people said to me

as if I never liked you, as if

I was not hurting. 

Fine.

I will be the girl who broke your heart when you were a boy. 

Your love was sunlight

Constant, reliable and unbelievably warm

The thought of sunlight going away

made me shiver once again.

The world felt frigid in the shade. 

 

Perhaps that is why I ended it

The thought of being without you later

scared me more deeply

than the thought of being without you now. 

Better to get used to the shade

before I am wrenched from the sun. 

 

Was this love? 

My mother said it wasn’t,

that for me to let go so easily made it no so.

Yet, this may be my love. 

Another came: the moon. 

Moonlight is not so intense, vibrant

I wanted the moon to become my new sun,

but it is impossible.

The moon wanted to shine his light somewhere else. 

“He cares about you. He wants you to succeed more than anyone.” 

That is moonlight, not sunlight. 

 

The moon did become someone’s sun, 

just not mine.

At first, I felt like he had been taken from me,

but he was never mine to give.

i know that his light must feel warm,

on someone else’s skin. 

 

“You’ll find someone in college.”

“Someone good and smart and kind.”

“Someone you deserve.” 

“You deserve better.” 

How do you know what I deserve? What do I deserve? 

The only time I felt the sunlight,

I walked into the shade on my own. 

Plenty of other people search for sunlight in college

Some find it.

Many don’t. 

Many are too busy: attending class, going to club meetings,

writing papers, taking tests, studying, making friends, 

staying alive

to look for any sunlight. 

Some people like to be in the shade

Some are there by choice 

Some people feel that they are destined to the shade,

resigned to it. 

There is no shame to be found to stand in the shade. 

 

Some found sunlight

and as its warmth wane whined

that finding another sun after college was a pain,

impossible even. 

What a poor reason

I thought, to stay standing in the sun. 

 

Now college is almost over, and I’m

still standing in the shade, have

been for five years now. 

You found someone else to shine 

your sunlight on, and it becomes you. 

I still shiver at the thought of knowing the feeling of warmth

and having it taken away.

It amazes me continually how you, and others, are

so open to weakness to let in love;

whereas I would prefer to stay in the shade

where it is too cold to feel any pain. 

 

Perhaps it is too presumptuous to hope

that someday a sun will shine so brightly

that the shadows will have nowhere to run

and I will have no shade to hide under. 

 

For now, I’ll keep standing in the shade

and enjoy its coolness. 

Maybe someday I’ll extend my hand out

to feel the warmth of sunlight.